COTS executive director to step down in September after 30 years of service

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Mon, 03/21/2022 - 4:22pm --
rita markley, right, with HUD officials and Vermont Senators Bernie Sanders, left, and Patrick Leahy, second from right.

Rita Markley formally announced she will step down as executive director of the Committee on Temporary Shelter Sept. 30 after 30 years of service to the nonprofit organization. Over a lifetime of work, Markley’s unwavering dedication to addressing systems of inequality that contribute to homelessness has had a lasting impact in Vermont and beyond, officials said.

“As the longtime leader of COTS, Rita has continuously approached the challenge posed by homelessness with creative solutions centered around the individuals she seeks to serve," said Patrick Leahy, Vermont's senior US senator. "Marcelle and I have the deepest respect for her compassion, her spirit and her dedication to her work. We wish her all the very best in her retirement.”

Markley, who began her career at COTS as a volunteer three decades ago, called the organization the greatest love of her life, aside from her family.

“I am deeply grateful for the remarkable staff, board, volunteers and donors who have focused on solutions and innovative approaches to ending homelessness,” she said. “COTS has never been stronger, and I am thrilled to see what the next generation of leadership will achieve.”

The board of directors at COTS, the largest service provider for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in Vermont, will work with the organization's leadership to establish a succession plan, which will include gathering input from stakeholders.